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Leadership
Jason Ostrander

Recently I was in a situation where I was working with some leaders, and it became painfully obvious that they were in need of some motivation. The parameters of the project were clear and we all knew what we needed to do. The only problem was, nobody wanted to do it.

If you’re in a leadership position (whether you’re the head of a major organization, or you lead a small group of teenagers in your living room) at some point in time you will have to save the day and help move things along. It’s at these specific times that high-fives and pats-on-the-backs aren’t enough, and usually deadlines and goals won’t do it either. Nope –what’s needed is good ol’ fashioned motivation. Here are some things to remember when doing so:

  1. Walk the fine line between “what is” and “what could be”.  Current realities rarely motivate people–rather it’s the hopes and dreams of what the future might hold that is truly inspirational. Don’t forget to be a futurist every once in a while.
  2. Motivation is directly linked to one’s personal experience. Whether you’re delivering a message or leading a pre-youth group leader meeting, always motivate out of your own story. Your team will be excited to share in your experience.
  3. Be a motivated communicator, not a motivational one. The tenor of your voice and the passion therein should match the level of your own motivation.  Does the very thing you are attempting to communicate motivate you? If not, there’s a chance you’re being loud and disingenuous.

When used properly, motivation can be a powerful tool. It can mean the difference between people simply listening to you versus taking what you’ve told them and applying it.  Proper motivation also helps to keep people energized and working with purpose, rather than just blindly completing task after task.

As a youth pastor, I was always concerned with motivating my students–but when it came to working with my volunteer leaders I often dropped the ball because I underestimated their need for motivation.

How would you gauge your ability to properly motivate your leaders? Are they working with purpose –or just turning the lights off when youth group is over?

Thanks for motivating students (and leaders)!

Jason Ostrander

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